Employee rights: Federal court ruling might benefit all truckers


A decision made by the federal court in another state might affect truckers nationwide, including in California. This case addressed the employee rights of truck drivers, with a focus on those who work for minimum wages. In 2016, three drivers who filed a claim against a trucking company were joined by almost 3,000 others in a class action suit.

The employers sought dismissal of the claim of alleged Fair Labor Standards Act violations, but the court ruled against them. Other than the standard hourly, weekly or monthly wage payments in other industries, many truckers are paid for the miles they drive. However, a significant part of truckers’ workdays is spent doing work-related tasks that do not involve driving.

Long-haul truckers could spend hours waiting for cargo to be loaded or unloaded, or they themselves may be physically involved in the loading and unloading. They also stop driving for meals and rest breaks, all of which are unpaid. The federal court decided that employers who pay trick drivers minimum wages must pay them for 16 hours each day, with only the 8 hours spent sleeping unpaid. Currently, many truckers receive minimum wages only for hours they spend driving, which means that all their other tasks are done for free.

This ruling shows that commercial truck operators in California who are being exploited by transport companies can stand up and do something about it. The best way to go about it might be to consult with an attorney who has experience in fighting for the employee rights of their clients. Complaints about wage and hour violations must follow specific procedures, and having the support and guidance of a lawyer can be an invaluable asset.

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